Never Forget

I recount what happened 13 years ago today:

13 years ago, I was sitting in my history class room with Mrs. Empey in my brand new school. It was a Catholic school and I was not Catholic and I had barely even been there. Shortly into the morning we hear an announcement over our speaker telling us to turn on the tv. The first plane had already hit the north tower. Being in 6th grade most of us were confused and didn’t know what to think of it. Not too much longer we saw the second plane hit the south tower. Most of the day was an absolute blur. At some point we all took out our rosaries and started to pray. Throughout the day people left the class. Our teacher tried to explain to our class about the history about the countries where the jihadits were from. None of us really cared at the time. Time stopped. I get home that afternoon and the tv was on for the rest of the day. After a day of chaos I finally learned of what happend. I didn’t understand as to why people wanted to harm us. We are America, the land of the free! From that day on, I have never have felt safe flying planes. If anyone knows me well I hate beyond anything else flying planes. Yes, it’s been 13 years, but those memories are burnt into my mind always reminding me of what happened that day. Every year this date comes along I usually watch a memorial on tv. There hasn’t been a 9/11 when I haven’t cried. I feel like it just happened yesterday. Also, let us not forget about Benghazi on 9/11/2012. Justice has not been brought to these victims.

I’ve been reading this amazing book called, “The Art of Intelligence- Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service” by Henry A. Crumpton, and there’s this one part of the book where he was briefing President Bush on what the CIA planned to do in Afghanistan, and I just wanted to share this quote with you:

After the meeting, President Bush walked George and me out to the SUV. George was a couple of paces ahead. The president briefly placed his hand on my back and quietly said, “Go get ‘em.”

“Yes, sir.”

This simple gesture and comment was for me the most important and most memorable part of the meeting. The president of the United States had given me a direct, clear command in a private personal way. It was, in some manner, unreal. That gesture was more than any operations officer could want or need or deserve. I felt privileged, humbled, and fiercely determined.

May God bless all of the families who lost lives on this day 13 years ago. We will NEVER forget.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Keeping Up With The Joneses

Well, it has been quite some time since I’ve written a post! Back to doing some improv (classes and with my team) and some BG work. And then somehow… I decided to get back into my ancestry account. I think what started it was an email that I received about being related to someone via the DNA test that I took (we weren’t related). Something that has been super hard to look up is the last name Jones. JONES. One of the most common last names. Rumor in my family was that whenever the Jones family came over to the states, they had a different last name and changed it to Jones. Well, turns out that that is not true whatsoever. After writing down my great grandfather’s name, which happened to be the THIRD- so imagine looking up the same name over and over and trying to get different results. Finally, I got some results! I was able to track the Jones family all the way back to England, and of course, the last name was still Jones. BOOM. Apparently they resided in Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire, England. How fancy does that sound?? Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be any fancy or fun fact about the family except that once they did get to America they fought in the Revolution. OH- and then somewhere down in the Jones line- I think my great, great, great grandfather- has a Freemasons symbol on his grave. And that grave is in one of the many cemeteries in the Smoky Mountain National Park. I also found out that my family literally just lived in the south (except for a few that were in Philly for a short time. Yanks.): Virginia, N. and S. Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and then on to Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. Sadly, none of them lived in Alabama. But anyway, this has been such a ride doing some ancestry work. Another side note- I may be very distantly related to a friend that I went to Alabama with! It’s very, very far back, but you never know. 

Now I’m just looking forward to my family coming into town at the end of September. Hopefully we’ll have nice weather by then. Why are we getting this horrible heat wave at the beginning of September?!? Guess it was just make up for not having a super hot summer. 

-R 

O Captain! My Captain!

I write this post with such a heavy heart. Of course, this will probably be the billionth blog/post/whatever on the passing of Robin Williams, but I think it’s something that I must comment on. When I found out the news of him passing, it was really right before one of my improv performances- talk about timing. I had to go back and think to myself, “What performance/movie/show really stood out to me?”, because I wasn’t a person who had him on a list of favorite actors. Of course, growing up I loved “Mrs. Doubtfire”; Aladdin is one of the very few Disney movies that I like- and I think it’s because of his portrayal of the Genie. (Yeah, I really don’t like Disney. Sue me.) But then I remembered one of my favorite movies (and for the life of me I don’t know why I didn’t put it in my favorite movie lists that I made), “Dead Poets Society”. I can’t remember when I first saw it, but it was such a prolific film to me. This film made me appreciate poetry and prose, and life! I remember my sophomore year in my theology class (of all classes), my teacher said a few lines from Thoreau’s “Walden”, and asked if anyone knew who wrote those lines. I knew. I said it was Thoreau, and he seemed to be impressed. Thank you, Mr. Keating. I want to also add this article from Acculturated on how “Dead Poets Society” changed the author’s life. It’s a little bit more prosaic than my blog post, and I can agree with the article 100%.

Another movie that I really enjoyed him in was “August Rush”. It’s so underrated! Perhaps I’m one of the few who appreciates Mr. Williams’ performances in dramas. I mean, how amazing is this quote? 

“You know what music is? God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in this universe, a harmonic connection between all living beings, every where, even the stars.”

Granted, his character wasn’t very favorable, but it was still a really good film. He really put his heart and soul into it. 

I hate to even admit this, but there are a few films of his that I haven’t seen that are noted as some of his best work. I won’t name those, though. Perhaps it’s time to put a few of those movies in my Netflix queue. 

I will leave you with one of my favorite scenes from any movie I’ve ever seen. Cliché, perhaps. But I don’t care. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veYR3ZC9wMQ

Carpe diem, seize the day…

-R

Gen. Y and Our Obsession With Nostalgia

I write this post after watching the first episode of Girl Meets World, because I missed the premiere and I was feeling a little bit nostalgic. Well, I’m going to be the bearer of bad news: it’s not Boy Meets World. What we hoped for is not there. I may be stating the obvious, but it’s so Disney, which means extra cheesy. In the 90’s we saw humor (but not so cheesy) and episodes filled with life lessons via Mr. Feeny. Fee hee hee Heeny! But who will replace him!? Cory, of course. And who is his student? His one and only daughter Riley, playing the “Cory” of Girl Meets World. To me, it seems off. Of course it is always great to get advice from your parents, but there’s no element of the Cory and Mr. Feeny relationship. Also, the “Shawn” of the series is a girl called Maya- who is really unrealistic to be the “Shawn” of this series. Yeah, he was the trouble maker, but I can’t take Maya as the trouble maker. Of course they incorporated a Minkus, with this waaayyy too over the top character named Farkle- nerdy, but ALL OVER THE PLACE.

And I hate to even point this out, but the even more unrealistic part of this is a family living in an amazing SoHo apartment while the kids attend a public school. I may still be out of the loop when it comes to schools in NYC, but I figure if you have a nice large apartment in SoHo, you’d be in a top notch prep school. I guess at this point I’m just being picky.

You can tell that the directors, writers, and producers were shooting to at least win over the Gen. Y-ers that grew up with Boy Meets World, but I think it was a miss. Though I think it hits right in the age group of the pre-teens who probably aren’t really familiar with Boy Meets World. Disney missed the maybe happy medium between appealing to the pre-teen crowd while also appealing to those who grew up loving Cory and the gang. I really, really wanted to like it. The 90’s were great, and I think that’s what we wanted- nostalgia of our childhood. Unfortunately, this doesn’t hit the mark. Perhaps, maybe, we should be careful for what we wish for.

-R

Favorite Movies: Part 2

Y’all, I haven’t posted anything in a very, very long time. Things have been very busy on my end. After working on Boardwalk Empire, I worked on this way, way awesome pilot for HBO that I have to keep under wraps. Let’s just say I worked with a legendary director that I could have only dreamed about. No, it’s not Tarantino, but it’s someone who has a BIG name. Then I went home and had a great time in Dallas eating my way through some Tex-Mex, my favorite sushi place, and of course, In- N- Out. SO, since I don’t have a lot up my sleeve now, I just decided I’ll write my favorite movies that are 11-20. Told ya I’d come back for that!

11- The Graduate (Mike Nichols): “And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson”… Y’all, I can’t believe I left that out of my top 10. I don’t think there’s need for a description. If you haven’t seen it, YOU’RE CRAZY AND HAVE BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK. Go rent it now! It’s a classic.

12- Gone With the Wind (Victor Flemming and others): “No, I don’t think I’ll kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed often, and by someone who knows how.” Weren’t expecting that quote, were you? Also, I’ve you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen it, rent it. But I’d say take a Saturday that you don’t mind staying in because this is a long movie. I mean, 3 hours long. But it’s so worth it.

13- Dirty Dancing (Emile Ardolino): “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” You know you’ve heard this quote. This is a classic good girl falls for a bad boy who can DANCE like no one’s business. Also, there’s a follow up movie called Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. Yeah, it didn’t have spectacular reviews, but I really liked it. Not top 20 worthy, but it’s still a good watch.

14- Kill Bill Volumes 1 &2 (Quentin Tarantino): I figured I’d just put 1 and 2 together because although they’re different, it’s still the same story line. Since I’m not too good at descriptions, I’m going to take one from IMDB. “The lead character, called ‘The Bride’ (played by Uma Thurman)  was a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, led by her lover, ‘Bill’. Upon realizing she was pregnant with Bill’s child, ‘The Bride’ decided to escape her life as a killer. She fled to Texas, met a young man, who, on the day of their wedding rehearsal was gunned down by an angry and jealous Bill (with the assistance of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad). Four years later, ‘The Bride’ wakes from a coma, and discovers her baby is gone. She, then, decides to seek revenge upon the five people who destroyed her life and killed her baby. The saga of Kill Bill Volume 1 begins.” See, that was a GREAT description. I haven’t watched it in some time, but I think this is like Pulp Fiction, where the story line jumps around.

15- When Harry Met Sally (Rob Reiner): This is the movie that states that men and women can never be just friends (Harry and Sally). To be honest, I really think there are some exceptions to the rule. This is a classic NYC movie and a cute rom-com if you’re in the mood. I’d say that you could even get a guy to watch this.

16- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Milos Forman): Ahhhh Jack Nicholson in his early years. Essentially this movie is about Jack Nicholson’s character that has a criminal past and decides that going to a mental asylum would be waaayyyy better than hanging around a prison. Sounds great, right? Heh. You have to watch just to see what happens. Also, there’s this EVIL Nurse Ratched. Such a classic.

17- La Vie En Rose (Olivier Dahan):  Everyone knows I’m a sucker for any French film, but this one is a film that even if you don’t like French films, you can enjoy this. I promise. Marion Cotillard (a favorite actress of mine) portrays the crazy life of French singer, Edith Piaf. She goes from a very poor life to one that throws her into the spotlight. Obviously, you’ll recognize the song “La Vie En Rose”. Also, if you expected for me to put Amélie in my top 20 movies, you’re wrong. I’m a bizarre person who doesn’t like that film. Sorry, not sorry.

18- À la folie… pas du tout [He Loves Me...He Loves Me Not] (Laetitia Colombani): Hey look! A film with Audrey Tatou! I may not care for Amélie, but I really enjoy this French film. Just thinking about this movie now, it kinda reminds me of the very famous novel right now, Gone Girl. The film starts out with the character Angélique (Audrey Tatou) and her relationship with her boyfriend. Once you get mid-way, you start to see his perspective of the relationship. See! Gone Girl! If you’re a fan of the book, I really recommend this movie. I’m pretty sure it’s on Netflix.

19-  Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino): “You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?… They call it a Royale with cheese.” Y’all, I can’t believe I almost left this off of my list. I had to go back to my 1-10 to make sure I already had it on there, but I didn’t!! When you think of Tarantino, most people think of this film specifically. I’ll tell you one thing, it’s so hard for me to take John Travolta seriously in this film. I mean, I can, but it’s just weird seeing him playing this… hit man character. The film itself is not in linear order. This means you have to be paying attention.

20- The Sound of Music (Robert Wise): Okay, I really don’t think I have to put a description for this one. This is another that if you haven’t seen it, YOU’VE BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK! I mean, don’t they always show this movie in school? I watched it at least 2 times.

Alrighty, that’s all I got time for.

-R

DCM and Boardwalk Empire

Three of the original UCB- Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Besser.

Three of the original UCB- Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Besser.

Well, here’s the post I was going to write last time. I am still sad about the loss of my favorite teacher, Mr. Post. His memorial mass was today, and I wish I could have been there for it. He is going to be missed, like none other.

Anyway, I want to look on the bright side of life! I recently got to be a apart of the Del Close Marathon (which is associated with The Upright Citizens Brigade) and took many, many workshops. Some were great, some were meh. The one that blew my mind (and rightly so) was with Matt Besser (one of the founders of UCB). I’ll start off that it’s kinda weird sitting in front of someone who is kinda put up on a pedestal. I’m still new to this who improv thing, but of course Matt is kind of a big deal. Anyway, turns out the people in my class are pretty much a let down because even though we read the UCB book, we weren’t as familiar with it as Besser was- obviously. I also think he was disappointed that the majority of us didn’t bring the book. To those who brought it, he asked them to, “open up your hymnal to page 244″. That was perhaps the only humor we got from him. So, even though he probably thought that the school that he started was probably going down the drain since we hadn’t thoroughly read the book, I’m sure he thought that we were good students. Maybe. Oh, he also plugged his podcast (it’s free!) Improv4humans almost every 5 minutes. (JK. But it was often. It’s good, y’all!) Something that we learned, and what I’ve heard many times before, is DON’T EVER SUGGEST ANY FOOD FOR A SUGGESTION. Someone threw out the word mango (I think) and Besser was like, “NO FOODS!!!!!!!!” I can understand that because for the most part; people probably don’t have stories associated with foods. The second part that was absolutely the cherry topper to DCM was going to both ASSSSCAT shows. I am so very glad that I bought tickets for both, because Amy Poehler (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) was only performing in the first one. In case you didn’t know, even though I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, Amy Poehler was also one of the founders of UCB. Y’all, I had a heart attack. To see one of my favorite comedians live in person made my night. My life! She’s just hilarious in person. Also, another favorite of mine, Horatio Sanz performed with the UCB- for both shows. That guy… he’s a character. I won’t go into full detail as to why, but if you are dying to know why I think he’s a “character”, feel free to message me, or something.

Second part to the post: BOARDWALK EMPIRE! I kinda wanted to keep it on the down low, but I guess the cat’s out of the bag. I won’t give away too many details, but all I can say is that there are flashbacks in the final season and that I had to wear a corset and wanted to die every time. I made new friends and re-connected with old ones, which made working every day great.

Next on the agenda: working on a Scorsese pilot. Basically, I know as much about it as anyone else does that can google “Scorsese new rock n’ roll pilot”. I’m sure it will be great because not only is he attached to it, Mick Jagger is too. I’m guessing that if this is picked up, it will take the place of Boardwalk Empire.

That’s all I’ve got for now! My improv team- Medusa- has a show tomorrow night and I’m pretty excited.

Night

-R

The Post Man

To the right of me is the amazing Mr. Post.

To the right of me (I’m in purple) is the amazing Mr. Post.

Yesterday I had planed on writing a post on the awesome time I had working on Boardwalk Empire and the past week with the Del Close Marathon, but something happened today that changed my mind. One of my mentors and one of the best teachers I had at Bishop Lynch High School passed away. His name- Mr. Post. He taught AP American Gov. along with AP Comparative Gov., worked with the Mock Trial Team, and of course, Golf. I was fortunate enough to have him for my AP Gov teacher, both American and Comparative. This was my senior year. I also was very fortunate enough to spend my senior year spring break with him as a chaperone on an Eastern European tour- which I could easily say, apart from my study abroad, was one of the best experiences I had in Europe. I would consider him, along with many other students, a Mr. Feeny of sorts. Filled with advice, compassion, and passion for everything that he did.

I’ve always been into politics- even since middle school. Was I totally informed at that time? Nah. But I stilled enjoyed it. Mr. Post put the nail in the coffin for my love of politics. Let me be clear though, we had totally different political leanings. He was liberal, I’m conservative. You always hear of teachers who decide that you don’t deserve a fair grade just because you don’t align with their politics (which happened to me in college!), but he was open minded. I was a small republican fish in a large democratic sea. He taught government in black and white. Okay, so every once in a while he’d show some recording of Colbert Report or whatever political satire du jour.But who cared. It was Mr. Post. When I was in his classes, it was at the beginning of the 2008 elections. Speculation already started as to who was running for President for each party, and we kept up each class. His classes weren’t your typical play by play we-have-to-keep-with-the-syllabus type teacher. It was more like, what’s going on today, what did you learn, and what can you take away from that. I can’t remember or recall any negative thought from his classes. I do remember the awesome butterfly chairs he had. I sat in the same one each semester.  I remember him having pictures on his wall of all of his government classes he had (or was it each spring break trip he went on? both? I have horrible memory). I remember almost most of all, his Postie Awards. These were given out to students at the end of the semester. I won a tie with another classmate for most conservative, but also, (99% of you readers will probably hate me for this award, but sorry not sorry) The Biggest Hillary Hater. I still have that “award” hanging up in my bedroom back home in Texas.

I remember, that even though he wasn’t a Bush fan at the time, that he gave props to Bush because after the attacks of 9/11, we hadn’t had a terrorist attack since (up to May 2008). I remember this one time on of my classmates, Sami was stomping all over a yard sign (was it a yard sign?) of a person running for the Presidential run off. Post obviously got pretty mad. I remember in one of our final classes he asked us to portray us as we saw him; how he sat, how he acted. It was pretty funny for us to act it out. I have many more memories from that class, but that could easily be written into a novel.

Mr. Post defined my senior year. So much so that every time that I came home from college summer or Christmas break, I would swing by BL to say hello to him. My last memory of him was running into him and Mr. McKenzie at a restaurant in Casa Linda. What a treat it was to see him after what was a really bad day.

One thing that always stuck with me was him saying that we should always question our authorities. (Authorities meaning the government, in case some of you were unsure.) I am more into politics than I ever was, and I owe it all 100% to him.

I am so very fortunate to have had him as a teacher. His legacy will surely live on.

Here’s to you, Mr. Post.

-R

He Was A Friend of Mine

An homage to my Dad:

In light of Father’s Day, I figured I’d write a post about my Dad. This past year has seen a passing of way too many of my friend’s fathers. We are young and it just breaks my heart. It really put things in perspective for me.

In all honesty, I didn’t grow up a “daddy’s girl”. My mom was the one who drove me around to piano, violin, gymnastics, dance, school, etc.; my Dad was always busy with work. Mom was the dictator, Dad just dictated what Mom said (LOL. But true. “Go ask your mother!”). But without a doubt, I am my father’s daughter; his “little girl”.

Dad! Smile! You have cake in your hand. Apparently this is at a wedding.

Dad! Smile! You have cake in your hand! Apparently this is at a wedding- not too thrilled.

As far as I can remember, the first two songs I ever knew in my life were “He Was A Friend of Mine” by Bob Dylan and “Get Off of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones. At the time it didn’t really seem too much to me- I thought those were just songs they were playing on the radio then (heh).  I don’t think he realized how much of that impression made on me, because I am a diehard classic rock fan. Of course those aren’t the only two performers he had playing all of the time. He had the obvious Beatles, a little Stevie Ray Vaughn, Neil Young (and probably CSN&Y but I can’t remember), The Doors, The Beach Boys, Leon Russell… I could go on and on. When I was a kid he had this story that he would tell me all of the time, and because of it repeat it all of the time, but it’s totally worth it: In 1969, London, Hyde Park, he saw THE ROLLING STONES! He was 16. But y’all- 1969. The HAY DAY of Hippiedom. He told me about how he snuck away from his mom and two sisters and how Hell’s Angels were there; the excitement over the song “Sympathy for the Devil”. Of course this does no justice to my Dad’s story telling, but man that has got to be one of the coolest stories ever. Needless to say, I’m jealous.

A trait that I did get from my Dad (not any math skills. ugh) was my musical ability. He played the french horn/trumpet in HS and into college band at OSU, but apparently the band director there wasn’t too friendly so my dad decided it was not for him anymore. Also, he was in choir. (LOL). I can’t really talk much because I was in choir middle school through high school. He also played Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol” too when he was a kid. Now, I’m guessing he isn’t too thrilled that I’m writing this for the whole internet to see, but chances are he won’t even see this blog.

Since all of the passing of many friend’s fathers, it made me realize that I need to tell my Dad that I love him more. I usually talk to my Mom every day (only child syndrome) but have always just talked to my Dad fewer times. He’s always busy with work. Life is too short now for me not to tell my Dad every day that I love him.

So, Happy Father’s Day, Pops. I love you so very much.

-R

Don’t Stop Believin’

Last shot of Tony

Last shot of Tony

Well y’all, it took my close to a year to finally watch the 6 seasons of The Sopranos. For a while I kept saying that Homeland was the best tv show ever, but The Sopranos just took that spot. *****POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T WATCHED THE SOPRANOS****** As I clicked the final episode, “Made in America”, I realized that now I would have some sort of void in my life. This was the end. Sadly, the finale was ruined by my parents in 2007. I remember as soon as they had the close up of Tony in the diner while “Don’t Stop Believin” was playing, it went BLACK. And my mom screamed as if the cable cut out! Of course I come running into my living room to figure out why she was yelling! Turns out the finale just ended like that. Black out. Tony looks up at someone and then it was over. 10 seconds of excruciating pain thinking that something had to have gone wrong with the cable. Then the credits roll… That was it. So, even though I knew the ending of The Sopranos, I was still shocked 100%. Me: WHAT?!? THAT’S THE ENDING!?? We question, did Tony actually get shot? Most people have the theory that he did, others say that David Chase (the director) copped out. I like to think of it as that we’ll just never know. I originally started this series after the passing of James Gandolfini. I was told a million times that this was the best tv show ever, but I finally figured I’d start it in memory of Mr. Gandolfini. And man, he was a brilliant actor. It’s sad to see that he passed so early. I’d also like to add that it’s one of the best openings in a tv series.

So that’s it. Short post. Now I know that everyone says I need to watch Breaking Bad, but I tried y’all. I couldn’t get into it. Maybe some day down the line I’ll try and watch it again.

-R

Not A Good Bye, Just A See You Later

This past Sunday was the end of my 201 class at UCB (sad face). Our two fabulous teams- Mahoney and Duane & Busters did a pretty good job I think. Our graduation performance this time was at UCBeast instead of Chelsea- which was kinda sad, BUT that won’t be my last time on that stage. Another sort of sad thing is that I won’t be able to see the shows for free anymore since I’m not a student (another sad face). BUTTTTTT, the Del Close Marathon is coming up (which happens ever summer at UCB). I really, would go into detail who Del Close is, but I’ll just be nice and let you click Del Close’s name. So with this coming up, there will be a lot of workshops (!!!!!!). I’m actually sitting in Starbucks right now so I can have really good wifi connection when the classes go up (around 3-5). I don’t have good internet in my apartment and luckily Starbucks is only 2 streets away. Chances are that the time you read this, I will have already hopefully signed up for some workshops *crosses fingers*.

In other news… I don’t really have any. Except for starting a web series and then begin shooting for a REALLY awesome TV show in mid-June. More news to come on that…

Happy Wednesday y’all!

-R